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4-9-04 Oconee County MPD Ordinance were “Hatched & Birthed” in Secrecy

The first “official action” by the BOC took place at a CALLED MEETING held on Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM (GA-FLA Game Weekend) on November 1, 2002. Coincidentally, the voters of the county were preoccupied with the November 5 Alcohol Referendum and the vote on the “Big Park”.

April 8, 2004


Oconee Sewer Policy and Dense Residential Development Just “Slipped In”

Information and documentation has been made available to AVOC about the history of the drastic change in policy in Oconee County about sewer service for residential lots.Some folks lobbied for it and even helped to write the ordinances according to memorandum and minutes ofthe County Commissioners.


The subject was discussed by the full BOC at a “Retreat” in September 13-14, 2002.   The consultant hired by the BOC participated.


Notes of the session reveal that at least two of the members of the BOC and the County Attorney, Daniel Haygood, were in favor of it. (See copies of the notes handwritten at the retreat and a typed transcript below. (Other documentation shows that Haygood participated in real estate transactions involving several of the developments.There will be more articles documenting this and the names of the Parties and Lenders involved.


The first ‘official action’ by the BOC took place at a CALLED MEETING held on Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM (GA-FLA Game Weekend) on November 1, 2002.   Coincidentally, the voters of the county were preoccupied with the November 5 Alcohol Referendum and the vote on the ‘Big Park’.   (See Minutes of That Meeting Below)


The next step in the process was a CALLED MEETING of the Planning Commission on November 25, 2002, the week of Thanksgiving.   It then went through some more hoops, rewritten by a committee including design planners and engineers, and was finally adopted around April 1, 2003.   (See Minutes of Meeting Below)


Some early Master Planned Developments approved were Kensington Park on Malcom Bridge Road at Rocky Branch with 257 lots approved on July 11, 2003 and Creekside on Jimmy Daniell Road consisting of 207 lots approved on October 7, 2003 - all to be served with residential sewer.


To See Full List of MPD’s approved in 2003, see the following AVOC article:


4-4-04 Oconee County MPD’s --- Smart Growth or Run Away Growth


 Minutes of BOC CALLED MEETING held on Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM (GA-FLA Game Weekend) on November 1, 2002 to approve MPDs -


Notes of BOC at a “Retreat” in September 13-14, 2002, discussing Residential Sewer Service


BOC Retreat

September 13-14, 2002



Page 1

What are expectations for this retreat?

Ground Rules


Don Norris                  12 years on BOC, Road Map of achievements for next 5 years,


Bubber Wilkes               18 years, Planning & Zoning

Gary Dodd                    Utility Dir., Water & Sewer

Mike Leonas                  Roads & Bridges

Jon Walker                   Econ. Development

Gina Lindsey                Planning

Daniel Haygood            Legal

WayneProvost               Planning/Zoning, Bringing in new business

Margaret Hale               2 years, Youth, Rec. & Public Safety

MelvinDavis                   2 years, Planning for growth, Balanced growth

Johnny Pritchett            6 years, Water/Sewer, Balance tax load, Tax relief



Don                              firm grip on zoning ordinance interpretation(who has final word?)

Bubber                         5 year plan for water & sewer & funding, dirt roads-priority

Gary                             Policy for residential sewer

Mike                             Where are we going to focus growth in next 5-10-15 years

Daniel                           Consensus on what changes we need to planning & zoning                                                                                               ordinance

Wayne                          Further define categories on ourland use plan

Margaret                       Ways to improve communication with Commission & Staff

Melvin                           Budget Priorities, SPLOST Priorities for future referendum

                                    Thoughts on Greenspace, Hotel/Motel tax, Land purchase, Plan

                                    B for Parks & Rec

Johnny                         Consensus on growth & budgetary direction


Page 2


Accomplish thru Thursday

                Water & Sewer Plans (Framework - Direction & Guidance)

                Which direction on residential sewer

                Where will growth be focused?

                Define categories on land-use plan

                Changes in zoning ordinance

                Improve communication

                Budget ‘priorities’ start

                Future SPLOSTstart

                Consensus on growth & budgetary

                Dirt roads


Ground Rules

                No fighting / no biting

                Say what’s on your mind but don’t take it personally

                AC down / coffee hot

                Don’t beat a dead horse

                Think outside the box

                Hear other opinions

                Staff - Tell us / Be involved

Page 3



Bill:    Seems the gorilla is residential sewer.Good to growth.There is a central          

              discussion that leads off to the other subjects.


            *Growth   *System   *Budget Priorities   *Implications (planning & codes)


Wayne:  We’ll see a different character of growth if we expand residential sewer.

              Need to  be consensus of political ramifications.

              You’ll open the housing market and bring a more diverse population.  (Condo, townhouses, etc.)


            Specific issues need to be addressed in our development related ordinances.


Bill:          Growth - When will we double our population?15-25 years from now.

                This is a good period for planning water & sewer.

                What’s happening in ACC (Mayor election) could effect our growth next 4 years.


             Right to Sewer - legal and policy issue

             Reserving capacity - we reserve when zoning is approved.

             Should we start requiring a payment to reserve capacity with a 0 time limit?

             Not reserve until construction plans are approved?


Impact of Development on Water, Sewer, Roads

Page 4


            Creekside Development/ Kensington Park   condominium developments


Don                  all for it

Johnny             in favor in certain areas of county

Margaret           need to look @ costs, geared to certain parts of the county

Bubber             don’t need them everywhere, but likes them a lot

                        Concerned with roads.Likes the development.

Melvin            can we get ordinances & policies that allow these in certain parts of the county.

                             Would like to see   this in county.

Bill                    you can designate on Land Use Plan

                        Policy -you can have it under certain circumstances-

                        What can we do to ensure these will be built @ level of quality we want?                                   

                        This is hard to do.You have limited control.Can have architectural standards, building standards, etc.

                         But have to be careful of the costs of your requirements vs. the selling cost.Developer may short on quality.




BOC                 Interested but would liketo see in certain areas of the county, i.e.                                                                                   location.Locations should be relocated to sewer location.

Margaret           Don’t want to pay for a high density development if the cost is astronomical.


Individual – Private - Treatment Systems

Bill:                  When they fail, county is still responsible

                        Whatever privatization goes on should be the county’s, not the developer’s

                        Be wary

Page 5



Do we really want residential sewer?


Daniel                        Have to allow if you have sewer capacity

                                   What strategies can you have to limit demand residential sewer?

Margaret                    Don’t want to see 5-10 years problem for commercial sewer.

                                 How do weproject commercial demand?

                                 Set a policy or ordinance to enhance residential/commercial

Melvin                        Buy capacity at rezoning.

                                 Revisionof land use plan for High Use Density

Johnny                      What would be the costs?

Don                            How would we finance?

                                 Developer puts in then we buy it?        ‘Private System’

                                  Where do we want to   be 1-3-5 years?

Bubber                       Cost and financing.

                                 Don’t want to have to deny a commercial development we want

                                 because we don’t have capacity.




BOC              It’s ok if we have capacity but not our goal to support residential customers.

                      We need to develop   some kind of guidelines to be sure we have capacity for commercial.

                     General Goal:    OK to tie-in if capacity is available to accommodate commercial.

                     Consensus to have a 6 month moratorium on multi-family rezoning to set                                             policies to obtain this general goal.Bring to agenda setting meeting on       9/24/02.


Wayne                       Suggests we put a moratorium on residential sewer

                                 until we come up withstandards.Moratorium on multi-family.

Daniel                        We could set a 6 month moratorium on multi-family rezones


What is sewer capacity going to be in:

            2004?1.4m (2yr)

            2006?2.4m (3 yr)

            2008?3.4m (5 yr)

            2013    4.4m (10 yr)

            $ 25.5 million cost

Page 6


To accomplish, we need money, water, planning for growth


We can’t ignore it.


We’re for having private companies come in building treatment facilities.Staff to develop ordinance with some flexibility.


What are strategies to steer commercial demand?

Require up front money to reserve capacity?


Staff to do recommendations and bring back to BOC.


How to protect commercial demand?

Staff to work on



Look @ your top fee.(They’re so low.)Research GEFA loans.


Want to see high use density on land use plan

Want to amend land use ordinance, re: sewer capacity (during moratorium)


                   Schools Pay for Sewer?


Bill:      Majority of jurisdictions, schools pay top fees


                Community Septic System

Bill:      Suggests be conveyed to County Utility Department.